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Unnecessarily Complicated: An Examination of Information Asymmetry in the Transfer Process

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Conference

2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity

Location

Crystal City, Virginia

Publication Date

April 14, 2019

Start Date

April 14, 2019

End Date

April 22, 2019

Conference Session

Track: Collegiate - Technical Session 9

Tagged Topics

Diversity and Collegiate

Page Count

15

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/31804

Download Count

11

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Paper Authors

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Dustin M. Grote Virginia Tech

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Dustin M. Grote currently serves as the Graduate Research Assistant for the Virginia Tech Network for Engineering Transfer Students (VT-NETS) Program with the Engineering Education Department at Virginia Tech. He is also a PhD student in the Higher Education Program with an emphasis in Research, Policy, and Finance. His research focuses primarily on access issues for underrepresented/minority and low income students, community college pathways, policy, organizational and systems structures, and assessment and evaluation in higher education contexts. Dustin has B.S. and B.A. degrees from the University of Portland and a M.A. degree from the University of Northern Colorado.

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Walter C. Lee Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-5082-1411

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Dr. Walter Lee is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Education and the assistant director for research in the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED), both at Virginia Tech. His research interests include co-curricular support, student success and retention, and diversity. Lee received his Ph.D in engineering education from Virginia Tech, his M.S. in industrial & systems engineering from Virginia Tech, and his B.S. in industrial engineering from Clemson University.

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David B. Knight Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4576-2490

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David B. Knight is an Associate Professor and Assistant Department Head of Graduate Programs in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. He is also Director of International Engagement in Engineering Education, directs the Rising Sophomore Abroad Program, and is affiliate faculty with the Higher Education Program. His research tends to be at the macro-scale, focused on a systems-level perspective of how engineering education can become more effective, efficient, and inclusive, tends to be data-driven by leveraging large-scale institutional, state, or national data sets, and considers the intersection between policy and organizational contexts. He has B.S., M.S., and M.U.E.P. degrees from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from Pennsylvania State University.

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Abbey Rowe Erwin Virginia Tech

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Abbey Rowe Erwin is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education Program at Virginia Tech. Her research interests focus on the transfer student experience, particularly the impact of institutional policies on transfer student success and the role of collaborative programming between two-year and four-year institutions. She has a B.B.A. from Roanoke College and a M.Ed. in Higher Education from the University of South Carolina.

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Bevlee A. Watford P.E. Virginia Tech

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Watford is Professor of Engineering Education, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Director of the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity.

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Abstract

Keywords: Transfer, Engineering, 2 Year Institution, 1st Generation

The Engineer of 2020 (National Academy of Engineering, 2004) calls for the engineering discipline to broaden participation of underrepresented minority (URM), first-generation, and low income students in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce. Research that examines expanding access into engineering bachelor’s degree programs increasingly acknowledges the critical role of community colleges as lower cost pathways to bachelor’s degrees via engineering transfer programs. However, students’ ability to navigate complexities in transfer of coursework processes and policies between partner institutions is essential to maintaining cost and time-efficiency in degree completion.

Expanding on the Transfer Student Capital (TSC) Framework (Laanan, 2004; Moser, 2012), we use semi-structured interviews to engage faculty and staff in the College of Engineering at a large research university as well as at two partner public community colleges to explore how transfer students receive information about the transfer of coursework process at both the sending and receiving institutions. We focus particularly on the role of institutional structures, the design of advising services, and the nature of the partnership between institutions and their impacts on how students receive information on coursework transfer.

Using thematic analysis of the interview data, we find that students have access to several different sources of information but experience information asymmetry across those sources. Information asymmetry occurs when buyers (students) and sellers (colleges/universities) do not have the same information in a marketplace (Dunn, 2012). Students also have limited direct access to receiving institutions prior to application and admittance, particularly with advising offices who oversee transfer of coursework processes upon arrival at the university. These findings suggest a need for institutions to consider how they communicate information on transfer of coursework processes and policies, manage information accuracy, and how advising service structures may impact transfer students’ access to accurate information on transfer of coursework.

Grote, D. M., & Lee, W. C., & Knight, D. B., & Erwin, A. R., & Watford, B. A. (2019, April), Unnecessarily Complicated: An Examination of Information Asymmetry in the Transfer Process Paper presented at 2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity , Crystal City, Virginia. https://peer.asee.org/31804

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